Your Shopping catalog, now in more countries (and with some problems)

This past July, Google surprised us with another new feature for Shopping. In order to facilitate the internationalization of customers, it now allows use a feed in several countries as long as they have a common language. In accordance with this new criterion, Google has started to enable automatically as the location of these new countries in Merchant Center. In light of this change, many questions arise. What changes are reflected in Merchant Center, how can it affect your Google Shopping campaigns, can it be configured in any way to exclude unwanted countries? We will try to solve these and other questions in today's post....

The reality at Merchant Center

If we stick to Google's policies, it doesn't really change anything. We will be able to show products in any country as long as we have a feed in the corresponding language.It should also be noted that, regardless of what Merchant Center reflects, products will never be shown in other countries if your Google Ads Shopping campaign is correctly targeted to the specific location. However, all Google does is automatically enable all eligible countries under this criterion. As you can see below, the list of countries that meet the requirements is quite extensive:

Merchant Center Countries Google Shopping
Countries automatically enabled by Google


Given the theory, the reality has turned out to be somewhat different. In our case we have observed erratic behavior in some of our customers. What is most noticeable is a excessive increase of products in Merchant Center:

Google Shopping Feed
Merchant Center product upload


Even though this climb may appear to be correct, it always gives rise to checks. To our surprise, we found that this feed configured for Spain (in Spanish) was automatically enabled for countries such as Germany or France. In addition to being ineligible according to Google, it contravenes policies regarding language and country requirements. How could it affect the customer's account, and is there a risk of suspension by Google for violating its own policies, and will this feature cause the limit of products per account to be exceeded?

Countries automatically enabled incorrectly



After consultation with Google Support, they confirmed that there are several open issues surrounding this new functionality: confusing interface, uncertainty about possible suspension warnings, illogical process by automatically enabling countries without giving direct opt-out option, and so on. If you too are wondering how to control such a configuration, we now share with you several ways to do it.

How to solve possible problems?

The information provided by Google for product locations in Shopping refers directly to the product data specifications. We were referred directly to the attribute [shopping_ads_excluded_country]. to eliminate any country that was not in the client's interest. Is it logical to exclude all the countries that Google automatically enables? In other words, wouldn't it be more coherent to enable the ones I am interested in rather than excluding all the ones I don't want? Moreover, it is an arduous task if we take into account that Google enables countries beyond those it considers eligible as we have seen in the previous section. In spite of everything, we have managed to revert the situation back to normal:

Exclusion Merchant Center Countries
Exclusion of countries automatically chosen by Google


How did we get to this point? It turns out that Google has only two ways to automatically enable a feed for another country: either because you set it up in the feed itself or because the shipping costs are enabled for it. Seeing that the country and language of the feed was overlooked in Google, we decided to take a look at this second configuration. Within the Merchant Center, if you go to the Tools" menu and click on "Shipping and Returns" you will be astonished to find that Google has been able to automatically enable countries in the "Shipping services"With what criteria? In Google we trust (or not).

Countries Shipping Merchant Center
Configuration of shipping services in Merchant Center


At this point, it is sufficient to delete all those locations that you do not wish to configure as a sending serviceMagic! After deleting all the countries automatically chosen incorrectly by Google, the client's catalog returned to normal.

The positive side...

As in life itself, not everything was going to be negative. This new functionality does allows you to differentiate shipping costs between the Peninsula, the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Ceuta and Melilla.. Until now, this was a tedious configuration since it required uploading different feeds or including additional tables for each territory. Thus, Merchant Center now includes a difference between territories of several countries, as is the case of Spain:

Shipping Merchant Center Islands
Shipping service to mainland Spain and islands


In conclusion, managing Google campaigns is an ongoing challenge. Our team, always up to date with the latest developments, keeps its finger on the pulse. Still having technical problems at Merchant Center? Here's another one Geotelecom team compilation 😉


 

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